My Social Media Profiles

cartoon:  Ted and Jane plan dinner...over Twitter

I started exploring social media a few years ago mostly to find out what it was about. As a Web strategist it was something I needed to know. And being the curious sort, I wanted to play with the new toys. Then I discovered it was useful—for everything from marketing and customer service to idea sharing and event planning.

When I first joined Facebook, it was still only available to universities. At the time I was working at Case Western Reserve University, so I had access, but most users were students. They were writing messages on each other's walls as I might have left a message on a dorm room door in ages past. Not knowing many undergrads, I didn't check in very often. Then I joined Flickr, mostly because I needed a more efficient way to archive photos. But Flickr has a social component. I started joining groups there, made some friends and soon one of them invited me to join Pownce.

Pownce is no longer, but the connections and conversations I had there were what made me really understand the power of social media. Soon I was joining more services than I had time to follow, but it gave me a chance to learn the various ways this media can be used. Of course, the services are just the tools we use to forge connections. In practicality, Social Media is People (but more enriching than Soylent Green*).

Listed below are a few of the services I find most useful. Profile

I save pages to everyday. Whether I'm saving recipes or tips related to Web development, I find the ability to organize bookmarks with tabs, access them from multiple computers, and share them with friends is invaluable. can also be a useful marketing tool. Join my network on or read Things we can learn from—for use in our marketing endeavors to learn more.

Here are most recently saved bookmarks from

Digg Profile

Diggnation Screenshot

Digg is a content referral site, on which users submit news stories so that other users can vote and comment upon them. Stories that get the most votes (thumbs-up) make it to the front page of Digg or to the front of one of its topical categories. A site that makes it to the front page will get a lot of traffic, so in some circles it's considered something of a coup to either have your site make the page, or be the one to submit a site that makes the page. Front page items—particularly those that are quirky or amusing—may also be featured on Diggnation, "a weekly tech/web culture show based on the top social bookmarking news stories."

Digg started out with a technology focus but over time has broadened it's focus to cover a variety of topics. Users can friend one another to follow what stories each is Digging and discover news that may be of interest. Users may also send "shouts" to friends to point out stories of interest. Recent features include Amazon-like referrals to other stories people have Dugg who Dugg story X, and friend recommendations based on one's Digging habits.

Marketers may Digg their own stories, but should only do so if they are also regularly Digging other content. As is true of other social media sites, Digg users build their reputations on the quality of information they share. Users who don't promote the work of others will be at best ignored and at worst considered to be spammers—and then of course no one will Digg their submissions.

Facebook Profile

Facebook has evolved quite a bit since it opened up beyond the academic environment. Today, I use Facebook primarily to connect with people I know in the real world, though I've also added friends I've come to know through other social media services. The service is rife with silly applications involving throwing sheep and making people into Zombies, but it is also a good place to connect with others with like interests.

Facebook groups and pages exist for virtually any hobby or interest and are also a great way to promote your organization, products, services, events, blogs and podcasts. For example, you can become a fan of the Facebook page for by clicking the "become a fan" button in the Facebook widget here on this page. On that page I share links to blog entries as well as other external resources geared towards those with an interest in Web design, marketing and related topics.

Flickr Profile

I take a lot of pictures—much to the annoyance of friends who find themselves on the far side of the lens. So far I have over 24,000 images on Flickr and a few thousand more waiting to be uploaded. Given that I can't seem to put my camera down, I needed an easy way to store and display all these images and Flickr serves my needs. You can read more of my thoughts on Flickr via From HTML tables to Flickr: How do you archive your photographs? and Flickr: Tags, Groups, Interestingness and Social Networking.

FriendFeed Profile

FriendFeed is an aggregator and a destination. When you join FriendFeed you can use it to pull in feeds and content from other services such as Flickr, Twitter and (Thus you'll notice the feed below often shows content I've originally posted elsewhere.)

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20 Things About Friendfeed

You can also follow your friends activities—allowing you to keep track of their myriad posts without having to go visit every social service they use. FriendFeed also allows you to post to select sites from the service as well as comment on other posts and join conversations in topic based rooms.

Overall it's a handy way to get an overview of your social media activities. Read Wayne Smallman's article, "What is FriendFeed?" and watch Robert Scoble's video (shown right), 20 Things About Friendfeed provide additional tips.

People tell me I have odd taste in music. I prefer to think of it as eclectic. You can decide for yourself if you follow me at Here's my recent playlist.


"LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries." I use it to connect with current colleagues and peers, make new connections in my field and share advice and suggestions on Web development and social media. Given the business focus, LinkedIn is a great place to share your work experience, but this year I've become particularly interested in using the questions and answers area as a way of marketing my business and learning and sharing ideas and best practices related to marketing, Web design and social media. You can read more about my LinkedIn Q&A strategy in Maisha Walker's Inc. blog, The Internet Strategist in the article, Building Your Tribe - 6 LinkedIn Success Studies (final/part 3). Read the complete series to learn about the myriad ways you can use LinkedIn for business.

Mixx Profile

Mixx is a content referral site similar to Digg. It allows you to share stories, Web sites, photos and videos that you find interesting, categorize them by topics and share them topical groups. As with Digg, you can vote and comment upon things shared by others, and you can find content that might interest you by joining groups and communities. I've recently tried to spend more time on Mixx at the advice of friends who find it useful. So far I've found that Mixx makes it easy to find content related to specific niches, though there are some groups that seem a bit spammy. But if you take care if which groups you join and which people you follow, you can find a very helpful Mixx of content.

StumbleUpon Profile

I first discovered StumbleUpon when I noticed that it had become the top referring site for my blog. Years later it still is. Like Digg and Mixx, StumbleUpon is a content referral site. StumbleUpon works in conjunction with a browser toolbar. After installing the toolbar you can go to your profile on the site and select topics of interest. Then if you have some time to kill just hit the Stumble button on your toolbar and you'll be taken to a site you might like. When voting on such sites (thumbs up or thumbs down) StumbleUpon tracks your preferences in order to give you better results over time. StumbleUpon is great for insomniacs and others seeking online distractions.

Then again if you're elsewhere online and find a site you would like to share, you can just hit the thumbs up button. If you are the first to submit the site you will be asked to provide a brief review and add tags which will then show up in your profile. If the site has already been Stumbled your thumbs up icon will just change colors, but you can click on the nearby speech cloud icon to see who else stumbled the site. This is a good way to find StumbleUpon friends with common interests, but particularly helpful for marketers and bloggers to see who has Stumbled their pages.

While most Stumbling activity can be done from the browser, your StumbleUpon profile page also helps you keep track of the sites you recommend, groups you join, friends, subscribers and tags, and it also let's you make blog posts to share with your friends and subscribers. Like Facebook it also features a built in e-mail system that let's send messages to friends. Overall StumbleUpon is handy tool for Web surfers and marketers alike.

Technorati Profile & Google Blog Search

Technorati is a service for searching blogs and for keeping track of activity related to your own blog. It has a social component in that users can "favorite" blogs to keep track of fellow bloggers activity. Users can sign up, claim their blog(s) then keep track of which other blogs link to them. Technorati uses this information to determine the authority and rank of a blog. There is debate in the blogosphere as to how useful this is, but I think if one is looking for ballpark numbers it can be a helpful.

I like to use Technorati in tandem with Google Blog Search, which offers another way to discover what other blogs may be linking to yours. This is a helpful measure of success and also offers a way to discover other blogs in your field of interest. Of course when it comes to measuring a blog's success no single tool stands alone. Combining these tools with Google Analytics, Feedburner and other tools at your disposal is the best way to get an overall idea of how well you are meeting your goals.

Recent reactions to my Web Development Blog via Google Blog Search

Twitter Profile

Twitter asks you to tell people what you are doing in 140 characters or less, rather like your status message on Facebook. If you're not already in the social media whirl, this probably sounds rather lame. Because really, how much can a person communicate in 140 characters? Surprisingly, it's more than you might think. Twitter is one of the more prominent social media sites for the tech crowd and is quickly becoming more and more mainstream. Tweeter's use it to pose and answer questions, share links and hold micro conversations that somehow get the job done.

Twitter is also a popular way to "live-blog" or offer commentary during an event. We've seen people post news updates during natural disasters as well as provide play-by-play announcements during conferences. The simplicity of the service probably counts for a lot of its popularity but there are also countless tools, such as Tweetdeck, one can use to enhance the overall Twitter experience. This makes it easy for people to adapt Twitter to their own needs.

From a public relations and customer service perspective Twitter offers organizations a great way to follow what their customers are thinking. Twitter searches on brand names and products allow us to get real feedback and present us with the ability to respond. Twitter can also be a useful marketing tool, so long as one takes the time to target the right audience and remembers to participate in the overall discussion rather than just Tweeting product pitches.

Replies or reactions to my Tweets